From the age of four until fifteen, my best friend, Alison, lived right across the street.
We smoked our first cigarette together and her mom ran a candy/confection store for a few years (of where my addiction to rock candy started).
She had two sisters. They were older then us and the middle sister would sneak out of her window to see her boyfriend. One morning Alison drank her sisters contacts because they were placed in a glass as not to wake the parents.
Alison’s family was well to do and my family, not so well-to-do. Her dad was retired from General Motors and they lived quite well. They were the only family I knew with a LaserDisc player and the first family to have a big screen TV. They hosted fantastic Halloween parties (complete with apple bobbing and strung doughnuts). Her mom decorated for Christmas in the beginning of November and left the tree up until the end of January.
They used to shuffle us to the mall and turn down the volume on the radio if we started singing along.
Once we hit high school, Alison started taking notice of boys and started going on dates. I would be third wheel as my access to a ride was more reliable.
We stopped hanging out as much.
Alison confessed her involvement with her boyfriend and things were totally downhill from there.
Despite living less than 100 feet away, our relationship had grown miles apart.
We graduated from high school, I moved out, her parents moved and left the house to the older sister (who had a baby with the guy she snuck out to see) and Alison decided that the best revenge would be to start sleeping with a black guy.
I was at the childhood house, picking up things to take to the Newly-Engaged-House and Alison’s dad is across the street.
We chat it up and Alison comes out.
Small talk ensues and I state that I’m engaged.
She congratulates me and announces she’s pregnant.
Her due date was right around my wedding date.
I found out from an old neighbor that Alison’s mom had died.
I went to the wake and we held an awkward conversation.
Even though we have two very different lives now, almost reversed from childhood, I still think of her all the time.
Yesterday was her birthday.
We’re exactly four weeks apart.